Wandsworth Council will be planting another 750 trees this winter in streets, parks and estates – and to ensure they thrive and survive they are all being fitted with a simple but innovative piece of equipment to ensure they have plenty of water.
A 'gator' fitted to one of the 750 trees being planted this winter
All 750 are being fitted with “tree gator” watering bags to help them take root and establish themselves.
Each gator holds 68 litres of water and can be easily and regularly refilled. Using them promotes deep root growth and ensures that all the water is consumed by the tree with no wastage or run-off when compared to traditional watering methods.
The gators last for at least five years which means they can be reused on newly planted trees in future planting seasons and are fully recyclable when they need replacing.
Wandsworth is home to around 60,000 trees in parks, housing estates and streets. Each winter between 700 and 1,000 new ones are normally planted across the borough, at an approximate annual cost of around £150,000.
Environment spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “Looking after our existing trees and planting new ones is a priority for the council, especially for the environmental benefits they provide and their importance in tackling climate change.“
The last two years have seen lengthy dry spells with very little rainfall for weeks on end so it’s important we make sure these young trees get all the water they need.
“These gators are the most efficient and effective way of ensuring this. Their use means no water wastage and helps keep their roots wet and well-nourished. They will prove invaluable if we get yet another dry spell later this year.”
Residents who want to help care for trees in their neighbourhood can join the Wandsworth Tree Warden Network – which is comprised of local residents who perform an important public service by keeping a close eye on the condition of their local street trees.
If a tree is showing signs of illness or disease they can give the council’s team of arboricultural experts early warning so that action can be taken quickly to help it recover.
And in warm weather spells they can be relied on to regularly give their street trees a good watering.
People can find out more about the Wandsworth Tree Wardens - and how to join their network of volunteers by visiting https://wandsworthtreewardens.org/